Gaza gives released prisoners rapturous welcome

More than 400 Palestinian prisoners have been released by Israel in exchange for the freeing of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas more than five years ago.

Of the 477 released on Tuesday, 217 returned to their homes in Gaza, Israel or the West Bank. Another 55 are to be monitored by Israeli authorities in either East Jerusalem or other parts of the West Bank.

One hundred and sixty of the prisoners, however, will not be allowed to go home: they were deported to Gaza, a move Israel says makes them easier to monitor.

Another 40 prisoners were exiled abroad to Turkey, Syria, Jordan or Qatar.

For those of the prisoners who stayed, however, Hamas held massive celebrations in Gaza City, where they were welcomed as heroes.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza.

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